October 1, 2019
Days at Sea: 297
Days Since Departure: 366
Noon Position: 48 29N 143 35W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): ESE 8
Wind(t/tws): W 25+
Sea(t/ft): W 8 – 10
Sky/10ths Cover: Cumulus/squalls 4
On-deck Temp(f): 59
Cabin Temp(f): 66
Water Temp(f): 58
Relative Humidity(%): 66
Magnetic Variation: 15.4
Sail: Triple reef in main, out to port, triple reef in working headsail poled to starboard.
Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 167
Miles since departure: 37,801
Overnight, wind veered WNW and hardened to 25 knots. I slipped a third reef in the main and hauled the jib sheet tight and left wind on the starboard quarter all night.
Stars. The Big Dipper, Cassiopeia, Arcturus. In the wee hours, Orion. “Stars,” I said, “stars!” We had not seen them in so long, the word felt foreign.
In the morning, I poled out the jib to starboard, tucked in three reefs and we flew at 7 and 8 knots. Towering, cathedralesque cumulus, obsidian water; seas whose break was almost too white to look at. Black footed Albatross. And Mo on a bobsled ride.
Today 48 North is very like 47 South.
And the strategy is much the same now as well. In the south, the goal was to surf the top of passing lows. Here we are riding the bottom of a low whose center is near Homer, Alaska. We are way out on the perimeter of this spinning giant; the barometer reads 1019 mbs, but the winds here are fast.
For days I’ve been targeting a region of 25+ knot winds whose angle would slingshot Mo directly homeward. The goal is to embed inside the low and ride it until it disappears over the horizon or fades. Current forecasts say we may ride it until Friday.
Grand, but not quite long enough…
This afternoon, squalls. Now we are running with the twins poled out. Winds are up and down. I’m rolling in and rolling out as the thunderheads roll over us. Rain. Hail. But who am I to complain? As the sun sets, twenty black footed albatross swing around the boat, around and around, until I lose them in the dark.